Once again, the backup story outshines the main story in The Dark Knight III #4 as Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson provide some iconic imagery, especially in the scenes featuring the Atom and Superman’s execution, but Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello’s storyline jumps around and portray the characters not named Bruce Wayne, Carrie Kelly, or Ellen Yindel in an arbitrary way. Plus there is that always problematic Islamophobia, which is starting to set in as the Kryptonians call Batman an “infidel”. Last time I checked, this wasn’t Holy Terror.
Though Superman hasn’t always been the most popular superhero (these days, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and heck, probably Iron Man and a few other Avengers most likely outpace him in that department), he was the first superhero, and superhero comics as they exist today wouldn’t without Superman. Even beyond the blatant knockoffs that cropped up in the wake of his immense popularity shortly after his debut (issues of his comics routinely sold in the millions throughout the forties), Superman can be pointed to as either a direct or indirect inspiration for nearly every superhero that followed. The entire field of superhero comics, the most dominant form of sequential art in American comic books, exists because of Superman.
When it’s not awkwardly taking shots at texting young people, making non-statements about the media, various world leaders, striking up a Strange Fruit-esque conversation about race involving only white people , or turning Bruce Wayne into a Randian hero with Carrie Kelly as his mouthpiece and Superman as his attack dog, The Dark Knight III #3 is an intergenerational superhero epic that boasts Andy Kubert’s best artwork of his career and flaming post-apocalyptic palette from Brad Anderson.
With the clock winding down and with only 3 issues in the War to go, not all of the characters are at the forefront in Justice League #47, but it works lest the already packed title become overstuffed with players. With the main artist back on to finish the event, the “Darkseid War” should begin to wrap up character arcs and pick up steam to change the landscape of DC Universe in issue 50.
The Darkseid War rages on and is proving to be the biggest and largest story DC has told yet in the New 52 and DCYou era through the Justice League title. Readers are treated to an artistic switch with Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, who were the team that ushered in a new era for The Flash at the New 52’s inception to give us this aftermath of the insanity that went down in issue #44.
In the world of superheroes, it seems that feats of physical strength and acrobatic prowess are possibly the most prevalent demonstration of super powers. One must wonder if such physical powers are a product of the time in which these comics were originally produced – the 1930s for DC’s iconic Superman and 1941 for Marvel’s super soldier, Captain America – or does this sort of hero have roots that extend deeper into literary history. Obviously, mythology is full of heroes who have superhuman strength, stamina, and agility with Thor and Hercules being the most famous in the world of comics for their huge roles in the Marvel Universe (and smaller ones in DC). However, there is a bridge, figuratively speaking, between the heroes of myth and their newer incarnations in the comic book world, and that bridge is found in the works of classical, medieval, and Renaissance literature.